My friend was briefing me on the latest run-in with her office nemesis. Things had gotten so bad, she went to a psychic. #TrueStory
(I envisioned Whoopi Goldberg in “Ghost.” )
“She offered me a protective charm, but I couldn’t afford it.” She said.
“Are you serious?”
I kid you not, I was thinking, half ‘That’s stupid.’ and half: ‘Where can I get one?’
“How much did it cost?” I asked, making a mental estimate of about 50 bucks.
“Four fifty.” She said. “I’d already spent two fifty on the reading, so I didn’t get it.”
“Four HUNDRED and fifty!?!?!”
“DOLLARS!?!?” My jaw hit the floor.
$450 for Madam Arcati to jiggle some chicken bones over a $2 candle and say someone’s name 3 times?
“I’ll do it for $300.” I replied.
We’ve all had an office nemesis. You know, the one who makes you crave a Voodoo doll and box of pins. (Or is that just me?)
Back in my corporate days, I worked with a woman who had devious ways of getting team members to do little tasks for her, so it looked like they worked for her.
I’ll call her Smokestack.
Gathered together in our fanciest conference room before the start of the quarterly meeting, we were all catching up and having a few laughs.
That’s when Smokestack spied our recent hire, Laura,* getting a lot of attention as the “new kid on the block.”
Smokestack made her move just as Laura sat down.
“Hey, Laura, grab me a coffee, would you?”
Unschooled in Smokestack’s petty power plays, my new colleague got up from the conference room table and headed in the direction of the coffee room.
In my head, I was screaming, “Noooooo!! Don’t fall for it!!”
After a minute she was back, coffee in hand.
She took her seat at the table and drank that coffee down to the last drop and never looked in Smokestack’s direction. She was so nonchalant, it didn’t cause a stir. Yet... point made.
DAY-UM! SHE-RO in the house!
Oh my GOD! What planet was this woman from!?!?! Did she commute to work on a dragon?
Back then, I wanted to be cool when faced with petty office politics and power plays, which I loathed.
Yet I didn’t know how to deflect with even a particle of the poise this woman possessed.
I discovered that secret. I’m gonna share it with you in just one sec.
During those years, my corporate paycheck was my only source of income.
It was the same for everyone I knew.
I made pretty good money, but it came with a catch.
The more money I made, the less independence I had, which is what I was really working for.
It’s why most people put up with a lot of crap at work, right?
This was before you could
✔️ Sell your handmade voodoo dolls (or anything else) on Etsy.
✔️ Spin up a side hustle along with a separate stream of sweet cash!
✔️ Make a bundle from your viral YouTube video.
In the deep dark past, you got a job and sucked it up when the smokestacks of the world tried to make you their ashtray.
Later, I learned the secret to my colleague’s ability to remain untouched by politics and power plays.
She told me one day, over coffee, co-incidentally.
“I keep air in my tires. That way, I can hop on my bike and roll. Also, I have a plan.”
This is what she meant: at all times, she maintained:
A current letter of resignation ready to deliver on a moment’s notice. A robust FU fund, good for a years’ rent, red wine and whatever else life required for her not to endure too much BS or disrespect for that paycheck. A dust-free resume and LinkedIn.
Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
You go, Ben.
Preparation = freedom.
Keep air in your tires and keep your options open (and you can stay cool.)
P.S. Good news for freedom seekers. Opportunity finds you on LinkedIn. With a smokin’ hot profile, you can pump up your tires and get the sweet feel of, “I don’t have to put up with this crap” blowing through your career.
P.P..S. *Laura — of course not her real name ;-)